M.T. Kalashnikov Museum and Exhibition Small Arms Complex

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Museum and Exhibition Complex was founded in February of 2004 as State Cultural Institution «The Kalashnikov Museum» ( according to the Decree of the Udmurt Republic Administration No. 1347-r).

In December of 2004 the museum was renamed as State Cultural Institution «The Kalashnikov Museum and Exhibition Complex of  Small Arms».

The construction of Museum and Exhibition Complex building begun in 1996. At that time the Decree of the Head of Izhevsk Local Government dated 20.03.1996 was founded municipal museum in honor of Kalashnikov honorable citizen of Izhevsk and general designer of shooting arms.

The project of the museum building belongs to «Prikamprojekt» institution (the architect is P.I Fomin). It was awarded upon the results of an open completion which was held on 7th of May , 1996. The General Contractor of the building works was the Federal State Unitary Enterprise USST No.8.

In 2004 cause of the long delaying in the building process the museum was handed over to Republic.

Opening of the museum took place on 4th of November , 2004 in the Day of State Sovereignty of the Udmurt Republic on occasion of 85 anniversary of the great arms designer M. T. Kalashnikov. This ceremony was participated by the President of the Udmurt Republic Alexander Alexandrovich Volkov, the outstanding Designer of Small Arms Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov, the President of the Board of Unified Energy System of the Russian Federation Anatoly Borisovich Chubais.

The floor area of the Museum and Exhibition Complex compose 4000 square meters. The area of exhibition halls is over 1000 square meters.

In 2004 with assistance of experts from museum design lab attached to MK RF Research Institute for Cultural Studies (Moscow) the main concept of the museum development was elaborated. This concept covers the following objectives:

  • to maintain and make available to general public the essential facts of life and work of Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov;
  • to research and popularize the inventions in arms production, to reveal the atmosphere of work and creation, to show lives of outstanding people and plants histories.

From the opening day the museum presents permanent exhibition named «A Man's Destiny» which is devoted to the world-famous designer.

During five years the Complex had a number of expositions addressed to various historical aspects of arms industry in Izhevsk city.

Here are some recalls of visitors taken from the Museum archives:

Exhibition «The Armourer» devoted to Evgeniy Fedorovich Dragunov: «The exhibition demonstrated the designer's great mind, will-power, talent and mastership, and showed that this great person is the one our land must be proud of.»

Exhibition «Nikonov. A Step into the ХХI Century» devoted to the designer G. G. Nikonov: «It is good that Russia (Izhevsk city) pays the tribute to the memory of its great sons: the inventors. They had many challenges to face and often with a small reward. The museum of this kind is worth of such Heroes!».

Exhibition «The School of Armory Mastery» devoted to he fiftieth anniversary of the Gun Making School in the name of L.M. Vasev: «What is the place where the one can acquire the knowledge of armory mastery? How the achievements are inherited across generations? Any teacher knows — seeing is believing. Affecting experience... All honor to the masters

Exhibition «The Arms of the Victory. Weapons Plants in Izhevsk in the Time of the Great Patriotic War» devoted to the heroic labor of Izhevsk people within 1941..1945. «I expected to see an ordinary armory exhibition, but, in fact, you helped me to understand what a heroic act was to manufacture arms to overcome fascism. Thank you so much that you remind young people how important it is to take care of the history of own land»

«It was very interesting to see the weapon used to defend our Motherland»

Exhibition «Hunting Weapons Made in Izhevsk»: «Udmurt people are not only hospitable but great! Everything is very interesting!»

The exhibitions on various subjects served as validation means, a kind of «testing grounds» for materials and exhibit technique. Finally, the previous experience was summarized in anniversary exhibition «the Glory of the Russian Weapons» which was held in 2007 and devoted to 200-years history of weapons production in Izhevsk. The exhibition was based on a giant research work performed in a very strict period of time: the museum experts investigated 425 cases (approx. 100,000 documents) in archives and museums in Saint Petersburg, initiated archaeological surveys in the territory of Izhevsk Weapons Factory, which is the eldest organization in Izhevsk.

The exhibition was open in August of 2007 under the Government Decree No. 1289-r dated 14.09.2006, the Plan of Anniversary Events in the Udmurt Republic was dedicated to 200 years of armory production in Izhevsk and 60 years since the Kalashnikov gun was invented. The exhibition took four museum halls on 400 m2.

Organization of the Museum exposition was supported by experts from Izhevsk weapons plants, chronologists and designers from the Republic, museum experts from museum design lab attached to MK RF Research Institute for Cultural Studies (Moscow), artists from studio «Artefactum» (Ekaterinburg), multimedia & software engineers of the Udmurt State University and Izhevsk Technical University (IzSTU). All this contributed to the creation of original exposition concept and creative solution. The event took central position in the united exhibition program devoted to the celebration of 200-year anniversary of Izhevsk armory and 60-year anniversary of the Kalashnikov gun.

Here are some opinions of the exhibition visitors:

«We were pleased ... to conceive the history of our native land, Udmurtia, and to learn the story of its outstanding sons, the genius armorers... Simple and elegant appearance of the exhibits implicate tremendous work of several generations of gun-makers. These people made our history and we are thankful to them.» «The exhibition made us proud of our country. It is true that our land is reach for the genius!»

Research works of the museum team are described in publications as well. In 2008 the Exposition Complex published its first book named «About Weapons History».

With the support of the Exhibition Complex a scientific conference was held in the basic weapon department of Izhevsk State Technical University. The event was devoted to the 55-year anniversary of the designer G. N. Nikonov and included the discussion of a wide range of issues related to the design and manufacture of machine gun AN-94. The conference was participated by representatives of Izhmash JSC Arms Design Center, Research and Development Technical Institute «Progress», Center of Contemporary Historical Documentation of the Udmurt Republic, arms engineers, relatives of the designer G. N. Nikonov, students and lecturers of Izhevsk State Technical University. The conference course was summarized in a sourcebook.

A round-table conference named «Izhevsk is an Armory Training Center» organized on the basis of «School of Armory Mastery» exhibition was participated by lecturers of IzhSTU, Udmurt State University, Izhevsk Industrial College, Gun-Making School in the name of L.M. Vasev, and A. F. Deryabin, as well as arms plants representatives. The participants discussed such important issues as continuity, consecution, coordination and interrelation of all parties involved in order to maintain personnel training in weapons industry.

The museum gives much attention to educational activities. In addition to traditional practice (excursions, lectures, subject meetings) in 2005 the museum established educational program for pupils «The City of Armors», and in 2008 another program named «Heroes of the Russian Land».

In 2007 the event «Be the Winner» related to remarkable dates and outstanding landsmen was launched.

A new exhibit program was developed specifically for families who visit museum with preschool children. It is called «The Guide Arrow»

The Exhibition Complex regularly takes part in international and regional museum and tourist forums. The Complex participated All-Russian Museum Festival «Intermuzey» (Moscow, All-Russia Exhibition Center) in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. In 2005 it was awarded the prize «For the Best Debut».

The Exhibition Complex also participates All-Russian exhibitions «ROST-2005», «ROST-2006», «ROST-2007».

In 2005 the Complex became the member of the Russian Tourist Industry Union.

In 2008 the state institution MEC was registered in All-Russia Book of Honour. 

In 2009 the MEC was decorated with honorable mark of Russian Federation Government «Beyond the active work in patriotic upbringing of Russian Federation citizens».